Monthly Archives: September 2013

Harvesting and Preserving Tomatoes.

Harvest1What do you do with this much produce harvested in just one day?  Well, first of all give away as much as possible.  After a while, that gets old though and you start to notice that your friends may be avoiding you!  And of course, the stuff keeps coming everyday!  I am one of those people that do not like to waste anything much less food so, I have been experimenting with easy ways to preserve as much of my harvest as possible.

Tomatoes are easy:  They can be frozen whole and I found out it is not necessary to peel them ahead of time.  Just cut out around the stem, place in freezer bags and they are good until the next harvest.  As needed, I take them out, place in tepid water and the skin just comes out almost in one piece.  It is a thing of beauty.  I then cut them up (still frozen) and they are ready for the pot.  I found they taste more like fresh than the canned tomatoes and are wonderful for soups and stews.  Other options are sauce, drying  or canning.  All of them time consuming and way too much work for me, but I admire those who have the dedication and know how to do it every season.   There is however one great trick I learned from my mother.  Now, she never had a vegetable garden but once a month or so she will buy a nice supply of celery, onions, garlic and tomatoes and put the whole thing thru the blender, then freeze in ice cube trays.  She would then add them as needed to all her soups and stews  and that gave her cooking a wonderful flavor.  I started doing this but also adding my herbs: basil, oregano and parsley.  It is a great time saver and  a great way to start almost any dish!

Sadly, my tomato plants are starting to look tired and as the nights get colder, the green tomatoes on the vines may not ripen before frost.  One good thing to do is to cut back all new growth.  Any new buds will not ripen so they are a waste of energy for the plant.  Instead, this energy is used to help ripen the fruit already formed.  Also, as you cut some of the new green growth, more light reaches the fruit.  Enjoy your harvest while you can, autumn is quickly approaching!

It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in the Autumn.
B. C. Forbes